It’s the morning after Palm Sunday, The Hosannas have died away, and Jesus is in a really bad mood. Who can blame him, because he knows the week is going to end badly. So here we have him apparently taking out his frustrations on this poor fig tree. At first glance, the message he seems to want us to take away from the crumpled tree is a demonstration of the power of God. On second look, the message seems to be a sort of “ask and you shall receive”: If you really pray and believe, God will grant your wish.
But then what is this last verse? Where did that come from? The hour is late. Jesus has only a few days left to underline for us his most-important messages. At first, this seems to be just a warning to take beat before we pray. Ask for forgiveness. Consider whether we really want to ask for what we thought we wanted to request.
But then the message comes into focus: Whatever you ask for, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And what is the big thing you are asking for? God’s forgiveness. And guess what? It’s already yours.